There is no way to prevent leg cramps forever. They will eventually happen to everyone who actively exercises. For runners, the legs and the feet take most of the beating, and this is where the cramps happen. Though there is no guarantee a cramp will never occur, there are things that can be done to lessen the probability. In addition to staying hydrated, the following tips should help keep the cramps at bay.
Warm Up Slowly
Take your time warming up. Schedule extra time to stretch and prepare for your workout. Be gentle with yourself while you do. Gently massage the muscles as you warm up, instead of doing hard stretches that can possibly tear the ligaments. This will help better prepare the muscles for the strenuous workout ahead but will not overextend them before you even get started.
Slow Your Pace Down
Unless you are in a race, you are in no competition to be the fastest. Pace yourself and slow down if need be. It is especially important to keep a slower pace in the beginning of the run. This is because muscle fatigue is believed to be a contributing factor of leg cramps.
Watch the Heat
When the weather is especially hot or humid, you will sweat more. This causes dehydration and loss of electrolytes, which can also cause muscle cramping. During times of excessive heat, consider shortening your workout if you do not wish to skip it altogether.
Shorten Your Stride
It can be especially helpful to runners to shorten their stride length, especially while going uphill. Also, taking more frequent walk breaks between runs can reduce occurrences of leg cramps. But there is no need to have a longer stride just because you are walking. Remember, a longer stride does not necessarily mean more distance is covered. It is OK to shorten it.
Though these tips will not completely eliminate your risk of leg cramps, they will likely help lessen their severity and help you experience them less often. Take these tips to heart, and you might enjoy your run a lot more. You have nothing to lose by giving them a try — except the cramps.